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BYU-Hawaii officially announces plan to phase out athletic program in three years

Published: Saturday, Aug. 29 2015 3:05 p.m. MDT

The BYU-Hawaii campus.
 (Deseret News archives) The BYU-Hawaii campus. (Deseret News archives)

BYU-Hawaii officially announced that it would phase out its athletics program over three years, according to a press release on the Seasiders' Facebook page.

"Following much discussion, more than ten years of analysis, and consideration of several options, the decision has been made to phase out NCAA athletics at BYU-Hawaii over the next three years," the university announced. "The money being spent on athletics programs will be used to provide educational opportunities for the increasing number of students from around the world who can be served by the university."

BYU-Hawaii currently has 11 NCAA programs: Men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross-country, men's golf, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's tennis and women's volleyball. These teams compete at the Division II level in the PacWest Conference.

The press release cited the struggles of universities as small and remote as BYU-Hawaii to keep up with "trends [that] have emerged in collegiate athletics." Instead of athletics, BYU-Hawaii intends to use more of its resources toward expansion of the university.

"The Board, Executive Committee, and university administration feel that the top priority is to serve more students, especially those from the Pacific and Asia. Plans to increase enrollment to 3,200 students are already in progress with the construction of new on-campus housing facilities and the Heber J. Grant building. Additional construction projects are in planning stages with completion expected in the next three years."

The university also outlined its plan for current student athletes and coaches. "All committed scholarships will be honored, and the scheduled seasons will be completed. During and after the three-year transition period, full- and part-time coaches and staff will be given access to employment resources and opportunities for placement inside and outside of the university as needed."

Lafe Peavler is a staff sports writer for the Deseret News. Follow him on Twitter @LafePeavler.

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